By Jocelyn Reyes, Oct. 11, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona’s Rose Float team has begun preparations for the 2023 Pasadena Rose Float Parade, student participants have started planting flowers at Spadra Farm, which will adorn the float this January.

Spadra Farm has reopened for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The planting of flower seeds began Sept. 3 with more than 300 flowers expected to bloom and follow the dehydrating procedure in time for the parade.

The farm has been around since 1953 and has grown flowers, plants and vegetables. Spadra Farms has also been involved in research that brings awareness to climate change. This year students had the chance to be back in the farm to support the students and staff working on the theme “Turning the Corner ” by planting Canada mums flowers, strawflowers and cornflowers.

Katherine Garcia, Vice President of the Rose Float club said, “Ever since the pandemic we haven’t had the chance to plant our seeds at the Spadra Farm, so we had to plant them at our old farm field near the freeway 57 but unfortunately half of them were destroyed by trucks that would pass by.”

Students are now in the process of figuring out what their next move is on the float. They are picking out ideas in what patterns and colors they want to include.

“We start off with the color scheme of the design and then we pick colors and texture we are going for,” said Decorations Department Chair, Elaina Reyes. “These flowers are planted and bloom in a few weeks in order to be used to dry out and then process them and use them as dry materials.”

The planting and flower picking processes is not as simple as it sounds. Students involved in this area are in charge of drying out the flowers. The team mentioned that there will be no fresh flowers on the float.

Photo courtesy of Elaina Reyes

This year’s Rose Parade theme, “Turning the Corner” inspired the following theme “Road to Reclamation”. This symbolizes the importance by a fallen branch from a tree that has become a new home to the snails and now are living in co-existence with a diversity of plant and animal life around it, like students from CPP.

These flowers are expected to bloom in a month in order to continue with the preparation of the float. Currently students are working on doing different testing on textures such as using black olives and purple jam for a design.

“The Rose Float should be ready to go before finals and then student participants can go ahead and start decorating by putting flowers and materials the day after Christmas in Pasadena,” said Reyes.

After the float is presented at the Pasadena Rose Float Parade in January, the team will be evaluated by judges based on the theme and execution of the float. Last year’s Stargrazers float received an award for best animation and the team is hopeful to bring back another award to CPP.

Students not only work hard to strive for a successful float, but to also make friendships and work hard as a team to be able to contribute and create a beautiful float. 

“I enjoy the community that it brings and working with all the different people and departments is fun,” said assistant chair designer, Ashley Yeaman. “Also having the experience to be able to work on such a large project with all the moving parts and be able to get something huge accomplished before the end of the year is amazing.” 

The Rose Float team is hopeful for another win this upcoming Jan 2. For more information on the CPP Rose Float visit their website 

Feature image courtesy of Elaina Reyes

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